Quantum mechanics is at the heart of our technology and economy - the laser and the transistor are quantum devices - but its full potential is far from being realized. Recent technological advances in optics, nanoscience and engineering allow experimentalists to create artificial structures or put microscopic and mesoscopic systems under new manipulable conditions in which quantum phenomena play a fundamental role.

Quantum technologies exploit these effects with practical purposes. The objective of Quantum Science is to discover, study, and control quantum efects at a fundamental level. These are two sides of a virtuous circle: new technologies lead to the discovery and study of new phenomena that will lead to new technologies.

Our group's aim is  to control and understand quantum phenomena in a multidisciplinary intersection of  Quantum Information, Quantum optics and cold atoms, Quantum Control, Spintronics, Quantum metrology, Atom interferometry, Superconducting qubits and Circuit QED and Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.



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Roland Winkler (Northern Illinois University and Argonne National Laboratory, USA/ IKERBASQUE FELLOW) (Seminar)

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2011/10/13, Roland Winkler (Northern Illinois University and Argonne National Laboratory, USA/ IKERBASQUE FELLOW)
Place:   Salón de Grados ZTF-FCT
Time:   11h.
Title:    Spinning Electrons
Spin-orbit coupling makes the electron's spin degree of freedom respond to its orbital environment. Thus it gives us a "control knob" with which we can steer the purely quantum-mechanical spin degree of freedom. Recently, the electron's spin and spin-orbit coupling have attracted much attention due to the possibility to complement conventional charge-based electronics by novel approaches that use also the electron's spin ("spintronics").

In my talk I will provide a general introduction into the world of spinning electrons, followed by the discussion of a few examples for the rich and fascinating physics that emerges from the interplay between the spin and orbital dynamics of electrons in solids. Similar to an external magnetic field, spin-orbit coupling can give rise to spin precession. I will show how the precessional spin dynamics plays a central role for several rather different phenomena. For example, it can be used to generate a spin density (spin polarization) and a spin current (a flow of spin angular momentum even in the absence of a charge current). Furthermore, it can be used to manipulate spins. Yet it also gives rise to spin elaxation, i.e., the often unwanted yet unavoidable process that makes a nonequilibrium spin polarization disappear again.